The anti-government protests in Istanbul have taken several different shapes over the past few weeks, and today thousands of unarmed protesters marched on Taksim Square with carnations.
And just like every other protest in Turkey in the past few weeks, police showed up and attacked them almost immediately, firing tear gas and water cannons against the demonstrations, while chasing protesters through side streets in an attempt to arrest everyone they could. Once again Istanbul, by evening, was covered in a cloud of tear gas.
Which was just fine with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who cheered the police tactics as vital in foiling the unrest, and insisted the police showed great patience “to a point,” then just crushed the protesters before them.
Erdogan went on to reiterate that the protesters were “enemies from abroad” and part of a global conspiracy to drive up interest rates and hurt tourism. Erdogan insisted the police would continue to “do their duty,” which in this context means filling Istanbul with a daily cloud of noxious gas, letting it more or less clear by morning, then getting up and doing it all over again.